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>Red Writing Hood: Dear Me

September 9, 2010


Dear Adelle-at-18,

Stop worrying about what everyone else is thinking. They aren’t thinking about you, they are thinking about whether or not you are thinking about them. It’s all the same angst; one big pot of anxiety that we all dip and share from. You might as well just leave it there for the others and do something more valuable with your time.

Go to Europe, and then go again. Take someone you love. Travel, explore, eat, live. Do something crazy – like sky-dive or climb a mountain. One day there will be little people who rely on your very existence and you won’t be able to bear the thought of such risk.

Give up on the running thing. It’s not going to work out. You might as well get into yoga now.

Put down this letter and go give Mom a hug. Tell her you love her. Tell her you will always love her. No matter what. Listen to what she says in return. Look her in the eyes. Be there. Be present. Ask her things. Write down her answers. Treasure her words. And then, hug her again.

Stop rushing to get to the next place in your life. The place you are in right now is wonderful. It’s amazing. You will never get to be this Adelle ever again. You’ll get to do all the things you dream of, someday. There will be love, and marriage, and children. But now is an amazing time. Savor it.

Call Grama. Spend an hour and let her tell you about what it was like to cross prairies in a wagon, to survive typhoid on the trail, about when she bobbed her hair because her best-friend Lennie did it first. Even if it’s the same stories she always tells, let her tell you again. Ask her about her first love, Ernie. Ask her to tell you the story of his death, even if it still hurts. Ask her how she survived as a single, working mother Depression-era LA.

Lastly, do not, I repeat, do NOT smoke that menthol cigarette your suite-mate is going to offer you during finals week next year. It will NOT pick you up, you will NOT be able to focus on your studies, and you will NOT do better on your exam the following day. You will, in fact, be violently ill and take to your bed in lieu of study, which will, in fact, severly hinder your test-taking abilities the following day.

One more thing: you love to write. You just don’t realize it yet. Start now, don’t wait till you’re 36. Just write. Don’t worry about what you’re writing. Just write.

All my love,


12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2010 7:24 pm

    >One of my favorite things you've ever written! Great post. Every high school and college student should read this. It's got me thinking about what I would say to myself. Very thought-provoking.

  2. September 9, 2010 11:37 pm

    >Love it!

  3. September 10, 2010 3:54 pm

    >This is great, Adelle. I wrote myself just such a note right before I got married and every so often I find it in a stack of old photos and reread it. So cool! I love to write too but stopped writing lately. Thanks for inspiring me to write again 🙂

  4. September 10, 2010 4:48 pm

    >Great post. Lots of good things to do – even now. 🙂

  5. September 10, 2010 6:11 pm

    >Ohh, I loved this one. I love the detail you put in it. It was so PERSONAL – hah, of course, it is a letter to yourself. But, it was.

  6. September 10, 2010 8:40 pm

    >And you listened. You write. Thank goodness for that. Enjoyed your entry very much.

  7. September 10, 2010 11:19 pm

    >Your first few lines got me… and your right. It is all about angst. I also wish I went ahead and went abroad… instead of letting love get in the say.

  8. September 11, 2010 1:42 am

    >Fantastic! So glad you are writing now. 🙂

  9. September 11, 2010 4:41 am

    >Wonderful job, Adelle. Knowing what you've shared about your mom, that part was especially poignant. But also – how cool about your grandmother!

  10. September 11, 2010 5:24 am

    >Beautifully stated! I would love to send the me of "then" a letter from the me of now. :-)… That old saying, "If only I had known then what I know now…"Keep Writing! I can't wait to read your books someday 🙂

  11. September 11, 2010 11:48 pm

    >"One day there will be little people who rely on your very existence and you won't be able to bear the thought of such risk."This thought alone keeps me off of planes. If we only knew. Fools. 🙂

  12. September 12, 2010 2:44 am

    >I love it! If only we really could communicate with our younger selves! But, we are who we are because of the experiences we've had. And I like who I am today. Sure, I'd love to go back and change some things. But right now, I would change anything!

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